The Big Apple Circus is back again. Every year it’s pretty much completely different in terms of acts and themes. This year’s theme, “Luminocity,” puts you in the hustle and bustle of Times Square, New York, and the performers are just plain folks walking down the street under the bright lights and noise, each looking for an excuse to break out of the confines of anonymity. The theme is enough of a thread to keep the show interesting and conform to the modern trend of having some kind of ‘plot’ but without adding too much fluff and filler, as has been seen in past years.
The line-up is as follows: Live Band, John Kennedy Kane- Ringmaster
Ty Tojo – Juggler
Rob Torres – Clown
Daniel Cyr – Free Standing Ladder
Acro-Duo – Acro-balance
Pierre Ginet – Flimflam Man
Jenny Vidbel – Dogs
Mongolian Angels – Trapeze
Jenny Vidbel – Horses
Rob Torres – Clown
Duo Guerrero – High Wire
Dosov Troup – Teeterboard
Ty Tojo is working under the tutelage of Dick Franco much in the tradition of Bobby May. A solid skill act and something of a surprise giving the ‘new circus’ tendency to rely too heavily on costumes and sets. Ty is simply astonishing in his 3, 5, and 7 ball routines to go from one monster trick to another. In one word… Pirouettes and backcrosses. He holds the world record for 5-ball backcrosses and has been published in the Guinness book as such. In fact, those of us who remember years when Guinness had not a single juggling record mention can thank Ty to some extent for helping change that. The Guinness people like him and bring him along frequently to televised events where he is always a crowd pleaser. I mean, the kid is only 16 years old. So once they have him all over TV it wouldn’t do to leave him out of the book, yeah? Anyway he finishes his act with a solid run of 30 seven-ball backcrosses. Even non-jugglers seem to understand.
Rob Torres is the best kind of clown- a JUGGLING clown. He manipulates plates and hats comically and gets the audience involved in traditional ways, such as throwing him the hat and he catches it on his head (funny) or misses it (also funny). Nothing too new but he’s very good.
Daniel Cyr has an entire act with free-standing ladder. He balances and does fairly high-level stunts on it and manages to squeeze between the rungs from one side to another. Its almost like juggling. I liked it.
Acro-duo are two men doing an act that is so overdone and old it amazes me that it’s still included in almost every circus I see, including several Chinese acrobat troupes. I must say though, that they do it on the highest level possible and go so smoothly from the one-handed handstand on A’s head, to the one-handed headstand one B’s hand, that it almost makes you forget its been done before. If you like acro-balance, you’ll love it.
Pierre Ginet was in fact the only act I really didn’t like. He chooses a member of the audience and starts to pick his pocket and give him back his wallet and watch while taking his glasses and giving him back his etc etc. This is a form of magician and I don’t like magicians, no juggler does.
Jenny Vidbel does a pleasant enough dog act in the first half but your suspicions are confirmed in the second half when she does her horse act. The dogs are just filler. The horses are amazing.
Mongolian Angels do a fine trapeze act, swinging back and forth and grabbing each others’ hands by the foot and foot by the hand. And foot by the foot.
Duo Guerrero (she’s from Spain and he’s from South America), are terrific at high-wire. In separate parts he stands on her shoulders and she stands on his. His jump rope routine is the best I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot.
Dosov Troupe from Russia are the finale on teeterboard. Amazing including a quadruple somersault.
Before the show I told the staff that I was a juggler and that I’d like to meet Ty Tojo. They were very accommodating and after the show I had a great chat with Ty and Dick Franco. They like to meet other jugglers and frankly we need to show support for our beloved brethren out in the field.
See some great photos on Spectacle Magazine.